Lisburn businesses get ready to reopen their door
This will be a busy weekend for the hospitality industry in Lisburn as bars, restaurants, cafes and hotels prepare to fully reopen on Monday (May 24).
Lisburn businesses are looking forward to welcoming customers back through their doors as covid restrictions continue to ease, allowing people to dine inside for the first time in months.
As well as the hospitality industry, other businesses such as libraries, museums, cinemas, indoor attractions, and soft play areas are also preparing to open their doors, pending official confirmation from the Executive.
Lisburn Chamber of Commerce President, Garry MacDonald said: “We’re delighted that we will soon be welcoming the re-opening of the majority of our hospitality. Going into town has not been the same experience without being able to stop off for a cup of coffee or bite to eat at some of our favourite hostelries.
“Whilst outdoors has been a useful stopgap, what with our weather and the fact that there are still limitations on the numbers that can be served it has not made it viable for some of our best loved cafes and restaurants to open.
“This Monday brings the full recovery that bit closer but until all restrictions on social distancing, live music, wedding numbers and attending other indoor events are removed we will still have the spectre of Covid-19 hanging over us. However, I’m certain that if we all play our part in whatever way we can to build back slow and steady, support our local businesses and enjoy each other’s company then we will win through this difficult time.”
As businesses across the city look forward to welcoming customers back through the doors, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council is encouraging people to support the local hospitality industry at this challenging time,
The Chairman of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’s Development Committee, Alderman Jim Dillon MBE is encouraging people to support the local business, He said: “The reopening of the hospitality sector across Lisburn Castlereagh is welcomed.
“These businesses have experienced a difficult time throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and we have been working with them throughout to provide support and training.
“We offered the opportunity to introduce initiatives that will support the industry to make adjustments and prepare for re-opening.
“I would encourage everyone who goes out for a meal or a catch up with friends follows all the safety measures that have been put in place to protect yourself and others.”
Two prominent hospitality venues, Little Wing and Lisburn’s newest hotel, Haslem, are delighted to be reopening in Lisburn Square.
Conall Wolsey, director of Beannchor, which owns both businesses, said: “As of Monday May 24, Haslem will reopen for indoor dining, cocktails and overnight stays.
“It’s a date we’re all more than ready for and the team is very much looking forward to welcoming people back to enjoy the full Haslem experience again.
“The weather may not have always been on our side over the last few weeks, but it’s been fantastic to see locals, who have come out in their forces, equipped with umbrellas and raincoats to support both Haslem and our other Lisburn Square venue, Little Wing.
“Our main focus now is about moving forward and putting the last 18 months behind us.
“Lisburn City Centre has a great selection of independent stores and high street shops to complement its growing food and beverage offering, and we’re committed to playing our part in encouraging locals to come out and enjoy everything that’s on offer.”
As well as the reopening of bars, restaurants and hotels, a number of other industries are looking forward to getting back to business.
During the covid restrictions Lisburn City Library has been closed to members, however it has offered ‘book and collect’ service so that people can still access the library service.
A spokesperson for the popular local library said they were making preparations to reopen to the public next week.
“We want to thank our customers for their support during the past year and are delighted to announce that public libraries across Northern Ireland are getting ready to reopen for browsing and study space,” she said.
“Our colleagues have been busy behind the scenes to ensure book shelves are stocked and, where possible, there is room for students to study.”
Film buffs will be delighted to have access to the big screen again, with Lisburn’s Omniplex Cinema looking forward to welcoming customers back,
Paul John Anderson, Director of Omniplex Cinemas said: “We are thrilled to finally be welcoming back cinema goers for the first time this year.
“We strongly believe in the power of escapism that a couple of hours spent at the cinema provides and we are looking forward to opening our doors for the ultimate big screen experience.
“We have worked hard over the last year to ensure our customers can enjoy the magic of cinema once again.
“We continue to follow public health advice and the safety of our team and customers remains of utmost importance.”
Safety measures at the Lisburn cinema will include limited capacity; 2m distance between parties for social distancing requirements; face coverings to be worn by staff and audiences when moving within cinema buildings; and staggered showtimes to name a few.
Omniplex Cinemas will also be operating enhanced online booking to make the visit as contactless as possible with increased cleaning regimes and hand sanitising stations in every foyer.
Visitors will be expected to wear face masks but will be allowed to remove them when seated in auditoriums for eating or drinking.
Paul added: “It’s been a long and difficult year for us all with restrictions affecting our daily lives.
“We know that our audiences are eager to get back to the big screen and we cannot wait to see people experiencing the cinema once again.”
Parents in Lisburn will also be glad to have soft play areas open from next week.
One Lisburn mum, is looking forward to taking her son to play for the first time, after he was born just before the lockdown restrictions came into force last year.
“We can’t wait for indoor soft play areas to open again,” said Ruth Hunter.
“My two girls Emily and Sophie love them and we’ve held birthday parties there in the past. My son George was born just before lockdown last year so he hasn’t even experienced soft play indoors yet. We can’t wait for his first visit.”
The Executive was due to meet on Thursday May 20 to confirm the reopening of the hospitality industry next week.